In the context of promoting the Urban Housing Plan (PUH), the Housing Seremi, José Manuel Peralta, proposed to include in it the land that was involved in the Papaya Gate case.
The proposal generated more than one comment, but the truth is that the owner of Housing reaffirmed his intention to present this idea to the Regional Government which, as he mentioned, is the current owner of this land.
However, all those directly involved – Housing, the Municipality of La Serena and the Regional Council – were in favor of the legal situation of these cloths – which were intended for sports use – being resolved before making a decision on the matter.
It should be remembered that the Comptroller’s Office recently suggested sanctioning several officials and former public officials – among them, the former mayor Lucía Pinto – after “having seriously infringed the principle of administrative probity”, for the irregular purchase of said land for 9,800 million pesos.
However, the criminal investigation by the Valparaíso Prosecutor’s Office is still ongoing, a process that has not yet been formalized.
But beyond what is decided, is it possible to carry out what the Housing Seremi proposes to recover the land to be used for houses?
Consulted on the subject, the lawyer María José Lira points out that -as José Manuel Peralta explained- these panels today belong to the Regional Government, which also, although they were intended to house a sports center, in the sale of the land it would not be stipulated your destiny.
“Then, since these lands were not purchased to be used for sports grounds, and it is already in the Regional Government’s assets, it could decide that these lands be used to build homes. I think that in principle there is no problem”, he estimates.
In that sense, the expert maintained that the only fear that could exist in the legal issue of the land is that the court annul the sale of the land, but she clarified, “it is very difficult for that to happen. Because moreover, the criminal court is not going to solve that and there is no nullity action of public law to render that purchase without effect.
“And since there is no action in this regard,” he concludes, “the land is already bought, more ‘expensive’, and what the Comptroller and the State are doing in the background, that is, ‘Ok, there is criminal responsibility, there is civil liability for the extra cost’, but the land is owned by the Regional Government, and it will determine whether to make these spaces available for this housing project or another”, reiterating that these lands “although they are associated with a sports project , the land itself, are not taxed for that destination”.
That said, he concludes, it would be up to Gore to decide what to do with the land.
In this sense, it is worth remembering that the regional councilors of the Regional Council’s Social Development and Territorial Planning bi-commission reaffirmed their agreement to wait until the situation surrounding the purchase of the San Ramón land is resolved in court, and from that, pronounce on the destination that can be given to that property, registered in the name of the Regional Government.
When the mayor of La Serena was consulted on this issue, Roberto Jacob, specified that before making a decision, what is finally going to be done in this area should be studied.
In that sense, he assured that “perhaps the fact that there is a nearby ravine could also complicate the possibilities”, suggesting that it could be a risk area to build houses.
Diario El Día tried to contact the municipality to see if that sector is considered a risk zone or not, in the Regulatory Plan for La Serena, but no response was received.
In any case, El Día consulted experts about the possibility of building in an area where, as the mayor from Serene stated, there are geographical accidents that could make the placement of housing complexes risky.
In this regard, Alejandro Orellana, director of the Department of Architecture at the University of La Serena, explains that this is established in the communal Regulatory Plan, which determines the areas to be built.
However, he clarifies, “in a land that has the status of a risk zone, there are different types of risk. There are some that are mitigable and some that are not. To explain it simply, building on a riverbed, even if it is dry, is a risk area that cannot be mitigated because, effectively, at some point the river will go down and there is no way to reduce that risk.” But sometimes he explains, in some risk areas, “with engineering works it can be mitigated and even annulled, and the land can be enabled for building.”
For his part, for the architect Carlos Moreno, this must be established through a risk study that bases the final decision.
“For example, if it is an area of ravines, with an engineering study a fill, a retaining wall, a canalization could be made, and the risk of this area can be reduced or eliminated, and, therefore, (…) with suitable engineering works approved by the authority, the space to build could be maintained or expanded. It would be a controlled risk zone”, he explains, adding that “it is not that a place is invariable, but that they are variable to the extent that they can be modified or altered. It is the study that supports this condition.”